Ministers back bill for electronic bracelet tracking of domestic abusers

Cabinet committee support comes just hours after announcement of latest death of a woman allegedly at the hands of her spouse

File: Women take part in a rally against domestic violence in Tel Aviv on December 12, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)
File: Women take part in a rally against domestic violence in Tel Aviv on December 12, 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP)

A top cabinet committee voted Sunday to back a bill to impose electronic tracking on violent men with restraining orders against them.

The electronic bracelet system would alert its carrier and police if the man approaches his spouse or home in contravention of a court order.

The decision by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation comes just hours after the announcement of the death of a pregnant woman, 29-year-old Roan Al-Katani of Rahat, at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, allegedly from wounds sustained when her husband beat her.

Al-Katani’s fetus did not survive. Her husband, 32, was arrested and remanded. He denies attacking his wife. According to the Haaretz daily, the couple have three children aged 5 to 9.

Al-Katani’s death was the latest in a series of killings of women by their spouses or significant others in recent months that sparked calls for action by lawmakers and law enforcement authorities.

Demonstrators against violence to women hold up a photo of Maya Vishniak, who was choked to death in a domestic violence incident, as they participate in a rally at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on May 18, 2020. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Ministers on Sunday expressed support for the bill, which was proposed by Likud MK Karen Barak.

Finance Minister Israel Katz also backed the bill, ensuring it would not face funding hurdles as it moves forward.

The bill proposes electronic tracking of both husband and wife, to ensure restraining orders are obeyed outside the home.

“Today, we took another dramatic step, as part of a broad set of bills, to rein in violence against women in Israeli society,” Barak said in a statement.

Noting Al-Katani’s death, Barak said the bill “rekindled the torch of hope.”

A woman holds a placard which reads in Hebrew “Stop the violence against women” during a rally against domestic violence in Tel Aviv, on December 4, 2018. (JACK GUEZ / AFP/File)

With the approval of the ministerial committee, the bill can move forward in the Knesset on an expedited track, conceivably passing into law within a few short weeks.

Eleven Israeli women have been killed this year, allegedly by somebody known to them.

Thirteen Israeli women were murdered in 2019 by someone known to them. In 2018, 25 women were murdered in such incidents, the highest number in years, prompting a string of protests and urgent calls for authorities to take action against the increasing incidence of violence against women. Many of those women filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.

Police and social service organizations have reported a major rise in domestic violence complaints since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Thousands of people protested in Tel Aviv earlier this month against the trend, calling for government action to end violence against women.

A woman shares her story of domestic violence to a crowd in Tel Aviv during nationwide protests against domestic violence in Israel, December 4, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Demonstration organizers said most of the NIS 250 million ($71 million) approved in 2017 for national programs to prevent domestic violence have not yet been allocated.

Also this month, the Welfare and Social Services Ministry published figures that showed a 112 percent increase in the number of complaints about domestic violence received by its hotline in May compared to April.

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